- What is a chiropractic exam?
- Why is getting an examination before getting treated important?
- What are the goals of treatment?
- Do I have to see chiropractors forever?
- Why do I hear about people having to go see their chiropractor 3 times a week?
- What happens when a chiropractor “cracks my bones?” How does it help me?
- I “crack” my neck/back by myself, is that safe?
- Does chiropractic hurt?
- Is chiropractic safe?
- Is chiropractic based on scientific evidence?
- What organizations support chiropractic?
Cost of Chiropractic Care
- How much does chiropractic care cost?
- Do health insurance companies cover chiropractic?
- If I get in an auto accident and I seek chiropractic care, will I be reimbursed for costs?
- IMPORTANT: Predesignate your Chiropractor in case of a Worker’s Compensation Case
A chiropractic exam may include testing the movement of the joints and soft tissues (e.g. muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia) by the doctor’s hands, postural assessments in a seated or standing position, observation of movement patterns as in the case of walking or raising of the arm, and testing of the strength and flexibility of specific muscles. Chiropractic doctors also use orthopedic and neurologic tests and diagnostic imaging (e.g. x-rays, MRIs, CTs) when assessing a condition.
An examination helps you find out the cause of your condition and the best way to treat it. On occasion, more serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, or infections may be confused with common complaints such as back pain and numbness and tingling in the legs. If we suspect or identify one of these other conditions, we will refer our patients out to an appropriate place of care.
We have several goals for our patients at Chan Chiropractic, but it is ultimately up to the patient to decide what they would like for themselves. For most neuromusculoskeletal conditions the goals are:
1.) Remove symptoms
2.) Treat the original cause of the symptoms.
3.) Build up health to prevent relapses
4.) Give our patients the tools to continue to protect themselves at home
5.) Maintain the health of our patients with regular check-ups and wellness care.
The default chiropractic treatment plan should not be “forever.” With proper diagnosis and treatment, most conditions should be addressed in a reasonable amount of time. There are some conditions, however, that may require regular treatments for the management of the condition and control of symptoms. Examples of such conditions are moderate to severe arthritis and scoliosis. It is also often recommended to get regular care (such as once or twice a month) for daily stresses in the muscles and joints due to particularly activities and habits, such as construction work, postural stress during the use of the computer, or when you habitually hold your tension in your jaw, neck and/or shoulders. Education regarding how your condition is affected by your daily lifestyle and postural habits should also be highly emphasized for the avoidance of symptom flare-up and further injury.
At Chan Chiropractic, doctors work with patients to develop a reasonable treatment plan to provide the best care and patient education so that patients can return as quickly as possible to a strong, healthy and productive life, independent of treatment. Preventative and maintenance forms of treatment are recommended to help fight the daily stresses of life.
Some patients are in a rehabilitative program, such as after an auto accident or sports injury. Consistent care, just like an exercise program or when taking prescribed medications, is often necessary to affectively address injuries to the soft tissues and joints. In our office, the doctors prescribe treatments at particular frequencies depending on the individual patient’s case.
When chiropractic doctors “adjust” a joint, sometimes a cracking or popping noise is heard. This noise is simply the release of nitrogenous gases in the joint. There are no known side effects from the release of these gases. The gases will naturally return into the joint shortly.
The main effects of chiropractic adjustments include stimulation of the receptors in the joints, induction of motion into the joint, correction of alignment of the joint, and/or reduction of irritation to surrounding nerves. The chiropractic adjustment is performed by causing a short amplitude, quick, and painless thrust to a joint that lacks motion or is misaligned.
Research has shown that a chiropractic adjustment helps to decrease pain, decrease muscle tension, decrease inflammation, increase circulation, improve range of motion, improve proprioception, reduce nerve irritation, improve local nutrition, improve lymphatic flow, and improve biomechanical function.
“Cracking” your own neck/back without an understanding of anatomy is dangerous. You may cause trauma to your soft tissues and joints and even worse the vertebral artery that provides blood to your brain. “Cracking” your own joints may lengthen tissues that are already too lax. This causes instability in your joints.
Chiropractic doctors study human anatomy, physiology, and the techniques and effects of adjusting so that we can ensure the safest care for our patients. At every visit we examine the patient to identify which joints require adjusting. We do not induce greater motion in areas that already have good motion. We induce motion in areas that lack motion. We also make sure there are no other contraindications to adjusting such as risk of stroke, osteoporosis, moderate to severe disc herniations, and cancer.
Chiropractic care encompasses many facets of health care. We treat by providing chiropractic adjustments and various forms of soft tissue therapy, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative therapy. We moderate our treatments to fit the need and comfort of our patients. Some chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapies may cause minor soreness but should be no different than the soreness felt with exercise.
As with all forms of healthcare, there is a risk and benefit to chiropractic treatment. Some of the risks of chiropractic adjustments specifically may include: sprain, strain, disc herniation, and stroke. The risk of strain and sprain is increased if the proper treatment technique is not used. The risk of disc herniation is increased if you have a prior/current moderate to severe disc herniation. The risk of stroke has been measured to be one in 120,000 adjustments of the neck. This is less than the risk of death with driving your car, the risk of death with the use of NSAIDs such as aspirin, or the risk of death by a lightning strike. Current research finds no difference between chiropractic care and medical care and the risk of stroke.
The risk of these adverse effects may be reduced by performing a thorough health history, thorough examination and identification of risk factors. Such risk factors include prior history of stroke or heart attack, hypertension, disc herniation, osteoporosis, cancer, the frequent use of corticosteroids, smoking, and alcohol consumption. These risks must be assessed and treatment therapies/techniques must be altered accordingly. There are many different chiropractic treatment techniques that may be used to avoid these risks.
Chiropractic doctors have some of the lowest rates of malpractice compared to other health care professionals. This is because we do not prescribe drugs or perform surgeries. We treat using safe, effective and conservative methods. Identifying risk factors and modifying the type of therapy used accordingly is essential to reducing any risks of further injury.
The core of chiropractic care includes chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapy, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative therapy. These forms of treatment provided alone and in combination have been researched by reputable journals which can be found on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health pubmed.gov website. The greatest evidence to support chiropractic adjustments is for the treatment of low back pain. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to decrease pain, decrease muscle tension, decrease inflammation, increase circulation, improve range of motion, improve proprioception, reduce nerve irritation, improve local nutrition, improve lymphatic flow, and improve biomechanical function.
Like other health professions, some chiropractors use additional forms of treatment that are not considered standard practice. These treatment therapies vary in their effectiveness and have their own associated risks.
Doctors of Chiropractic may be considered the specialists of conservative treatment for the biomechanics of the human body. Organizations and individuals seeking professional health care for neurologic, muscular, and/or skeletal conditions often look to chiropractors for help.
Most health insurance, auto insurance, and worker’s compensation companies cover chiropractic for the care of neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle, joint) conditions. Many reputable research journals show it is a safe, effective, and cost-effective form of health care comparable to others. Worker’s Compensation and Medicare also support chiropractic. Many professional athletes use chiropractic. Chiropractors are on the medical staff teams of the Olympics, AIDS Rides and Walks, professional surf competitions, martial arts competitions, and the list goes on. Chiropractic care is also available at some military bases and Veterans Affairs Hospitals. Chiropractic care is also available at some California State Universities and junior colleges.
There are many chiropractic-specific professional organizations. Some of the largest organizations include the American Chiropractic Association and the California Chiropractic Association. You can find additional information about these associations and others that Chan Chiropractic is affiliated with here.
Cost of Chiropractic Care
Health insurance companies, worker’s compensation, auto insurance agencies, and Medicare have varying reimbursement rates for chiropractic services depending on the plan you have. You may also self-pay for chiropractic care at our discounted rate. Please contact us and we can help you find the most cost-effective way to receive care at our office.
Most health insurance companies cover chiropractic. When purchasing health insurance, check to make sure that chiropractic is covered in the plan. If you need help checking your insurance, use our online tool or contact us by phone.
We also recommend that all patients pre-designate us as your chiropractor in case of any worker’s compensation cases in the future. You will need this in writing in case of a work injury.
Many patients suffering from injuries of auto accidents utilize chiropractic care. The way you choose to handle your case may depend on whether you are at-fault, the type of auto insurance coverage you have, whether or not you have Medical Payment on your auto insurance policy, whether you choose to pay out-of-pocket, whether you have alternative insurance, or whether you seek the assistance of an attorney.
Most auto insurance companies work on a reimbursement system. This means that patients must seek all of their medical treatment before the insurance company will make any payments. The insurance company may also seek to settle the case with the patient by paying a lump sum. An attorney may be a good choice for some patients. All of these choices must be made by the patient. Please contact us and we can help you in this process.
Recent reforms to California’s worker’s compensation system limit your access to your preferred chiropractor. New laws require you to “pre-designate” your personal chiropractor in writing. Submit this form to your employer and to our office as soon as possible. A pre-designated chiropractor must be a chiropractor who you have seen in the past and has your medical records. If you do not pre-designate a chiropractor, you must see one of the chiropractors or physicians required by your employer.